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Jazz Singer Tierney Sutton Quickly Makes Up for Lost Time


Jazz singer Tierney Sutton never dreamed she'd come so far so soon. Had she not discovered jazz in college, she might have missed a singing career altogether. Sutton has more than made up for lost time.

Like a true veteran, Tierney Sutton is right at home talking about Grammy Awards and the Great American Songbook. A Russian studies major turned jazz lover, she recently garnered her first Grammy nomination for her album I'm With The Band. It's an album mostly of jazz standards that showcase her unique vocal skills.

She says winning the award was the furthest thing from her mind. "People ask, 'Are you disappointed that you didn't win?' And I always say, 'I still can't get over being nominated.' So it's really hard to feel disappointed about not winning when I can't even believe I got nominated," she says.

Levine: "You can't really do much better than these [songs]. Are they songs that you've been singing for awhile and were they the songs you knew you would be singing for a long time?"

"I think that the Great American Songbook is like this amazing garden, and there's a new flower around every corner," says Sutton. "There's so much you can do with these songs, and it's great to have a song that structurally has a lot of integrity, and is really beautiful, and that everybody is familiar with. And then take it on a little adventure. That's what the band likes to do because all the arrangements are done by all of us in consultation with each other."

Levine: "With this CD, I know this is maybe more personal than some of the other ones you've done."

"Yeah, I think so because it's the first live CD we've ever done," she says. "And there's a certain energy that happens, I think, when the band is actually serving an audience that you can't get to often in the studio."

Whether she's live on stage or doing re-takes in the studio, there's no doubt Tierney Sutton has arrived. When she's not performing, Sutton is immersed in the familiar world of academia, teaching jazz vocals at the University of Southern California.